Need a last-minute Mother’s Day gift? Go for edible gifts (with a side of flowers)

The ol' dyed pasta necklace isn't going to cut it when you become an adult. (Photo courtesy Selena N. B. H. via Flickr Creative Commons)
The ol’ dyed pasta necklace isn’t going to cut it when you become an adult. (Photo courtesy Selena N. B. H. via Flickr Creative Commons)

The horses have barely finished kicking up dirt at Churchill Downs, yet it’s time to turn around and celebrate another big occasion.

I’ve always thought that the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day are just a little too close together to give moms in the state proper justice. You want me to pick a horse, down a couple of mint juleps, AND plan a bomb brunch and buy a fabulous gift for my beyond-fabulous mother all in one breath?

Month of May, have mercy on me.

Since I’m a little too old to hand out pasta necklaces to the woman who co-signed on my creation, I’m searching for the perfect gift. Yes, it’s last minute. But I pray to the gods of Better Late Than Never.

Here are some great items I’ve come across in my search for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, from the traditional to practical and back again.

  • Grocery delivery.
My first bunch of produce from Green BEAN Delivery.
My first bunch of produce from Green BEAN Delivery.

Taking care of a week’s worth of groceries isn’t the most sentimental thing you can do for your mother/mother figure. But for the practical person in your life, a gift like a Green BEAN Delivery gift certificate would give a busy lady one less thing to think about. I’ve touted this organic grocery delivery service before, and the fine Green BEAN folks have a special offer if you want to treat your mom. Visit Green BEAN’s website and use the code 15AEml for $15 off your first order (for new members/reactivations only; expires a week from today).

  • Chocolate.
(Photo courtesy of EuroMagic via Flickr Creative Commons)
(Photo courtesy of EuroMagic via Flickr Creative Commons)

I’m not talking about the stuff you get at the gas station on your way to visit your mother. Stop by Cellar Door Chocolates in Butchertown Market (1201 Story Ave.) or Oxmoor Mall (near Starbucks) for some decadent, small-batch chocolate.

  • Meat.
A box of meat from Mattingly.
A box of meat from Mattingly.

Sure, you can take your mom to brunch. Just be prepared for loud crowds, long waits, and at least one unsatisfied grandma. How about getting some quality meat from Mattingly Foods – A. Thomas Meats and cook your mom a nice dinner?

  • Flowers.
(Photo courtesy julie via Flickr Creative Commons)
(Photo courtesy julie via Flickr Creative Commons)

I once got my mother flowers for the big day. Her mouth said, “Thank you.” Her eyes said, “Is this it? They’re going to die in a week.” I’ve learned that flowers are a present that serves better as a supplement to something else rather than the big sha-bang. Stop by Nanz and Kraft Florists (they make arrangements beyond the KFC corsage) to see if they can help you find something pretty to go with the “real present.”

What are you doing for your mom this Mother’s Day?

Help me pick the next $10 Challenge restaurant

Could this Mussel and Burger Bar dish be the next $10 Challenge?
Could this Mussel and Burger Bar dish be the next $10 Challenge?

I’m in a pickle. I don’t know what restaurant to visit for the next $10 Challenge. Granted, this is a wonderful problem to have — there are so many good, interesting and/or new restaurants around Louisville that it’s hard to pick which one to focus on.

So I’ll let you guys make the tough choice for me.

Ashlee Eats readers will pick the next $10 Challenge restaurant. I have some suggestions, and I want you to vote on the one you want to read about. Vote in the poll below through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16. I’ll tally the votes and post the $10 Challenge about the winning restaurant Monday, Oct. 21.

Here are the contenders for the first crowd-sourced $10 Challenge:

  1. Mussel and Burger Bar: This is one of my favorite newer restaurants in the area, but it is indeed a challenge to only spend 10 bucks for hand-crafted deliciousness on a bun (or in a bowl if you get the mussels).
  2. Proof on Main: I’m not gonna lie — some of the menu descriptions are a little scary (charred octupus?). But this restaurant inside the 21c Museum Hotel has gotten a lot of attention nationwide for its cuisine. Could I find something delicious and inexpensive?
  3. Simply Thai: I love Thai food, but I’ve yet to make it out to this often-recommended eatery in the East End.
  4. KFC Eleven: OK, it’s a “concept” dining experience from a corporate fast-food behemoth, so this pushes the boundaries of keeping the $10 Challenge local. But I’m curious to see fried chicken turned fast casual at Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road.
  5. Bonnie & Clyde’s Pizza Parlor: I’ve gotta throw in a South-end option. A co-worker was disappointed I hadn’t tried what she called some of the best pizza in town. Should I be the judge of that?

Ready? Let’s do this!

 

Bits and Pieces: KFC Eleven, food truck follow-up and other Louisville food news from the web, 7.27.13

Sanders remains the official face of Kentucky ...
Sanders remains the official face of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and appears on its logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

News

  • KFC gave media folks a sneak peak of the fried chicken chain’s foray into fast-casual dining called KFC Eleven located at the corner of Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue. From what I can tell from the Eater Louisville slideshow of the restaurant (slated to open to the public in August), the art is funky, the bathrooms are clean and the Colonel is sparse. (Eater Louisville)
  • LEO Weekly took a look at the health inspection scores of Louisville food trucks as a follow-up to the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter story that questioned the safety of these mobile eateries (check out my reaction here). Turns out, food trucks are just as clean and safe as brick-and-mortar restaurants. Food truck friends, go ahead and drop the mic in triumph. (LEO Weekly)
  • Employees at a Creole restaurant called Le Bossier Café at Muhammad Ali Boulevard and 18th Street will be part of a union, a rarity in the restaurant world. (LEO Weekly)

Openings

  • One of the founders of the bar Meat will open an upscale bar called Meta this fall in downtown Louisville. The bar will be located in the former Show-n-Tell Lounge adult nightclub on Chestnut Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. I just hope they keep some of that old signage. (Business First of Louisville)
  • The folks behind the restaurant Rye in NuLu will open a bistro later this year called Atlantic No. 5 at 605 W. Main Street. One of the owners said to expect “sandwiches, salads, rotisserie chicken, smoked fish, pork, lamb, house-made charcuterie and bagels at breakfast.” I could be down for that. (Insider Louisville)
  • Bristol Bar and Grille plans to open a café in the Mellwood Art Center by Sept. 1. (Courier-Journal)

Bits and Pieces: KFC gravy, Mayan Cafe and other Louisville food news from the web, 3.18.13

News

  • Menu and Hours, the Louisville restaurant app I’ve plugged a time or two, is available for Android operating systems. Visit the blog Wednesday for my review. (Consuming Louisville)
  • The Mayan Café removed soft drinks from his menu. As a “Just water, please” devotee, I give the decision a thumbs up. (Insider Louisville)
  • Need a little something more with your KFC Original Recipe bites? The chain now offers dipping gravy. (Business First of Louisville)
  • Oh, snap. Some protesters demonstrated their opposition to foie gras being served at the new restaurant Game. There were even counter-protesters, aka hunters having a meal inside. Riveting. (Eater Louisville)

Openings

 

Bits and Pieces: KFC, Pappy Van Winkle and other Louisville food news from the web, 12.3.12

Events

  • Wednesday, Dec. 5 is Repeal Day, the day that marks the end of Prohibition. Consuming Louisville has a list of places to celebrate this glorious occasion, and Insider Louisville has the scoop on the happenings at Meat in Butchertown.

 

News

  • Ladyfingers Catering is out, and Upper Crust Catering is in at the Barnstable Brown Derby Gala. (Insider Louisville)
  • Word on the street is that KFC is testing Original Recipe chocolate chip cookies. Somebody call me when they bring back those chicken nuggets from the early 90s. (Business First of Louisville)
  • Chef Edward Lee of Top Chef and 610 Magnolia fame is writing a cookbook, Smoke & Pickles. (Eater Louisville)

 

Openings

  • Beer Engine, a craft brewery out of Danville, plans to open a second location in Germantown at the former Zeppelin Café in mid-2013. (Business First of Louisville)
  • A group of investors plans to open a pub/restaurant on Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville called Sidecar. (Courier-Journal)

 

Etc.

[Bits and pieces] $100 margarita, chicken-nugget diet and other food news from the web, 1.30.12

Photo courtesy TheCulinaryGeek via Flickr.

 

  • A restaurant in L.A. has created a $100 margarita. I could have sworn we were in a recession. (LA Weekly)

 

  • In just a few days, KFC will introduce the Double Down and all its carbs to Japan. In case you forgot, the Double Down is made up of two pieces of chicken with cheese and bacon sandwiched in between. I still think this sandwich is too much of a good thing, but the Japanese poster sure is appealing. (Eater National)

 

  • True story: A British teenager has eaten nothing but chicken nuggets for 15 years. She also has anemia, breathing problems and swollen veins in her tongue. Where is the adult who should have stopped this madness? (Huffington Post)

 

  • Check out these amazing pictures and a story about the food of the Occupy movement. It takes some creative and dedicated people to feed the protesters, especially as winter hits. (The Kitchn)

 

  • I guess your eyes really can be bigger than your stomach. Optical illusions can make a big difference in how much we think we’re eating. Here are some tips on how not to let looks fool you. (NPR)

Bits and pieces: Starbucks, honey buns and other food news from the web, 1.10.11

 

This is worth gold – at least in jail. Photo courtesy of Collin Anderson via Flickr.
  • You can always count on the St. Petersburg Times for a great story, but I never expected to find such a gripping narrative about honey buns. In the prison system, honey buns are a substitute for addictions, an effective bartering tool and, in some cases, a motive for murder.

 

  • Paul Mason, who was once the world’s heaviest man, has filed a lawsuit against Britain’s health system for sending him to dietitians who did not diagnose his eating disorder, according to an article from the New York Daily News.

 

  • I love sushi, but I’m not shelling out 250,000 pounds for a tuna fish like this wholesaler did at a recent Toyko auction.

 

  • Residents of the Highlands in Louisville will be welcoming a new neighbor soon. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will erect a 5-foot 6-inch tall crippled chicken statue at 1578 Bardstown Road, according to an article in LEO Weekly. Here’s what PETA Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement:

Our chicken statue will remind Louisville residents that KFC’s suppliers break chickens’ bones and often scald birds to death as a result of KFC’s refusal to implement the animal welfare standards recommended by members of its own advisory council

 

  • Words – who needs them? Starbucks is streamlining its logo by eliminating the company’s name and the word “coffee,” according to Reuters. Check out the logo here. What do you think?

My favorite posts of 2010: Will I ever burn off all these calories?

 

 

      

    

I felt the regret 10 minutes later.

I should start reading past blog entries whenever I’m feeling unproductive.

 It turns out that I did a lot more than I thought in 2010 – and had a lot of fun doing so.

I had some interesting adventures full of good food and good people. Here are some of my favorites: 

  1. Ashlee versus the Donut Burger: Think I exaggerated about the peril of eating a cheeseburger between two Krispy Kreme donuts? Scarf one down and tell me how you feel 30 minutes later. I could have really used some Tums that day when I ate this monster burger at the Kentucky State Fair.
  2. Chicken Fest and KFC, y’all: A couple of friends and I visited Laurel County, Kentucky, birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken and home of the annual World Chicken Festival. The highlight of the trip was meeting a handful of Colonel Sanders lookalikes. I’ve never seen so many white suits and moustaches in one place. The chicken wasn’t what I expected, but you can’t beat eating a KFC two-piece meal in the place where it all started.
  3. Adventures at Aldi: I love Aldi. Every visit is filled with glee when I look at how many reuseable bags I fill for half the price of other stores. Let’s face it, I might name my first child after this grocery chain. It’s not local, but the prices are right for someone on a tight budget. My four tips for shopping at Aldi remains one of the most-read posts on Ashlee Eats.
  4. Some dude named Emeril: Celebrity chef, author and television host Emeril Lagasse stopped by Louisville for the first-ever Fork, Cork and Style event at Churchill Downs. He had some really nice things to say about the city, and it made my heart squeal with pride.

Bits and pieces: KFC expands, nutritious school lunches and other food news from the web, 12.13.10

  • KFC officials have their eyes on Africa, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yum! Brands, the Louisville-based parent company of KFC, expects to double its number of KFC outlets on the continent to 1,200 by 2014, according to the WSJ article.
  • Here’s another news item from the Wall Street Journal: Carnegie Mellon University researchers say that taking several minutes to repeatedly think about eating a certain food could make you less likely to want to actually eat that food. I’m going to have to disagree. There are days when I think about Raisin Bran Crunch for at least an hour, and I still eat a big bowl when I get home from work.
  • O’Charley’s Inc., one of my favorite casual-dining-with-good-rolls restaurants, is closing 16 of its locations, according to an article from Business First of Louisville. CEO David Head said:
These closings permit us to focus our energy and efforts on improving the performance of our remaining 339 company-operated restaurants in 25 states.
  • President Barack Obama signed a bill into law Monday that allows for thousands more children to eat lunches and dinners at school and makes all school food more nutritious, according to an article from the New York Times. From the article:

The $4.5 billion measure increases the federal reimbursement for free school lunches by 6 cents a meal at a time when many school officials say they can’t afford to provide the meals. The bill will also expand access to free lunch programs and allow 20 million additional after-school meals to be served annually in all 50 states. Most states now only provide money for after-school snacks.

Excuse me for the wonky blog

Life has been getting out of hand lately.

In a good way, of course.

Posts to the blog have been a bit irregular lately because my day job has been keeping me busy. But I feel blessed because when I’m busy, that means lots of people are volunteering at Neighborhood House.

A few weeks ago, the CEO of Humana was on a ladder painting a staircase. Then the president of KFC came by and served Original Recipe chicken to the families that come to Neighborhood House. And we still have more groups on their way to contribute this holiday season.

Thanks for hanging in there with me during this hectic time. I’m still here, running on Diet Coke, coffee and prayers.